Liver Cancer: Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 01/2018

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the number of people who are diagnosed with liver cancer each year. You will also read general information on surviving the disease. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors. Use the menu to see other pages.

This year, an estimated 42,220 adults (30,610 men and 11,610 women) in the United States will be diagnosed with primary liver cancer. Since 1980, incidence of liver cancer has tripled, although rates in young adults are starting to decrease. Men are about 3 times more likely than women to be diagnosed with the disease.

It is estimated that 30,200 deaths (20,540 men and 9,660 women) from this disease will occur this year. For men, liver cancer is the 10th most common cancer and the 5th most common cause of cancer death. It is also the 8th most common cause of cancer death among women.

When compared with the United States, liver cancer is much more common in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. In some countries, it is the most common cancer type.

The 5-year survival rate tells you what percent of people live at least 5 years after the cancer is found. Percent means how many out of 100. The general 5-year survival rate is 18%. Survival rates depend on several factors, including the stage of the disease.

For the 43% of people who are diagnosed at an early stage, the 5-year survival rate is 31%. If liver cancer has spread to surrounding tissues or organs and/or the regional lymph nodes, the 5-year survival rate is 11%. If the cancer has spread to a distant part of the body, the 5-year survival rate is 3%. However, even if the cancer is found at a more advanced stage, treatments are available that help many people with liver cancer experience a quality of life similar to that of before their diagnosis, at least for some time. If surgery is possible, that generally results in higher survival rates across all stages of the disease.

It is important to remember that statistics on the survival rates for people with liver cancer are an estimate. The estimate comes from annual data based on the number of people with this cancer in the United States. Also, experts measure the survival statistics every 5 years. So the estimate may not show the results of better diagnosis or treatment available for less than 5 years. People should talk with their doctor if they have any questions about this information. Learn more about understanding statistics

Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society's (ACS) publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2018, and the ACS website.

The next section in this guide is Medical Illustrations. It offers drawings of body parts often affected by liver cancer. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.